I think it's a very good practice to evaluate an event in order to give praise and recognition to those who deserve it, and also to offer suggestions for improvement to those in charge, so that they can make improvements for the future. Welcome to the Reflections Posts! You'll find the linky below, at the A-Z Challenge Blog, and in my tab above.
In the past, I've used analogies: sex - 2011, sports - 2012, and I've laid it all bare, just a dump of emotion -2013. Each year has been different, and this year was no exception.
I'm happy to say that this year I did a much more timely job of visiting back, not that I'm anywhere near done, mind you. That was probably because I wasn't over 1,000 emails behind, only about an average of 300 per day. More people left links, or at least URL's, so quickly getting to a visitor's blog was a lot easier, and I was more intentional about seizing the opportunity right then.
Visiting more blogs led me to some great, new discoveries. There are many bloggers who are "just like me." They are immigrants writing about the cultural differences between their homeland and their new land. I even met some whose "new land" wasn't the US. I learned a LOT. I wish I'd labeled them in my notes so I could share links, but I didn't. Note to self for next year: write down links that you want to share in your Reflections.
I met some incredibly brave people opening their hearts and souls for the world to see. I was humbled by their honesty and willingness to share. I found amazing recipes to try, saw pictures of places I'll never be able to see in person, and I read a whole bunch of amazing flash fiction.
In other words, I experienced what we hope that you as participants experience when you join this adventure. In the past I didn't take that opportunity as much because I was too busy with administrative duties and neglected my participant duties. Note to self: good job. Keep getting better!
As to administrative duties, I had more time to devote this year, hence the email difference, and the visiting difference. I planned ahead for April, cleared my calendar, and really focused. I treated it as a part-time volunteer gig, and that mindset made me feel like I was really making a difference. It was motivating to keep going, and it gave me purpose when yet again, health issues dominated my personal life for half of April. Note to self: planning really is good. It's OK to be Schedule Woman ;-)
I still don't like the categories. All you need to do is spend an hour answering the info@ emails (one of my jobs on the team) to know how much confusion, angst, anger, and mess these caused. We will keep doing them, because YOU want them, but I just have to say again, like I did last year: pain in the buttocks for co-hosts.
However, I was highly entertained by some of the questions I received at the info@ email address. I won't embarrass anyone and quote, but I will say this: Note to PARTICIPANTS: there's a reason for the A-Z Challenge Blog: INFORMATION FOR PARTICIPANTS. There's even a FAQ tab. READ IT EVERYDAY. Keep reading it - we're open all year!
I know this is getting long, but I can't help but thank everyone for your tremendous response to my series. Some of you didn't miss a post. Many of you shared your personal stories and your culture. My comment section made me smile every day!
Thank you to my bevy of new followers. I'm trying to make the rounds, and I appreciate your vote of confidence in me. It's my intention to follow back, so if I've missed you, please drop me an email or leave a comment WITH A LINK and I'll hop on over.
Of course I have to thank my co-host team (yes, yes, I hear the exit music and see the ladies trying to escort me off the stage...just one more thing...) Love to all of you. Of course, it goes without saying that all of this would not have been possible without my minions, who got a whole post of their own on Friday ;-)
~Tina, looking forward to reading your Reflections. I'm going to be on the look-out for some to feature as guest posts at the A-Z Blog...
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Photo credit: as with all the logos associated with the A-Z April 2014 Challenge, Jeremy Hawkins of jmhdigital.com